Secret Spots in Singapore
Singapore aka ‘The Lion City’ is an island city located in SouthEast Asia right next to Malaysia.
I’ve been living on this island for more than 20 years and boy, has it changed over the years. Let me take you on a walking tour of some of the more interesting/hidden spots across Singapore.
I stumbled upon Runes Coffee, hidden in the leafy neighbourhood of Bouna Vista, a commercial district that homes some of the biggest technology companies in the world.
Quiet, serene and surrounded by lush greenery, it’s a perfect hideaway for having a quiet coffee while catching up with a friend or better yet, if you’re trying to get some studying or work done. While they have a limited food menu consisting mainly of toasties and pastries, they do offer excellent coffee. If you like good coffee and a quiet place to relax and unwind, this is the place for you.
The next neighbourhood I'm sharing with is a popular one. Telok Ayer is within Singapore’s Central Business District. Surrounded by skyscrapers and the Singapore Stock Exchange, this particular area stands out as it consists mainly of shophouses.
Developed in the 1820s, Telok Ayer was the first of the four conserved sub-areas that was designated as a Chinese and Indian district by Sir Stamford Raffles, the original founder of the country. In the past, Telok Ayer was situated along the old shoreline of Singapore and was a landing ground for immigrants, hence giving its name Telok Ayer in Malay which translates to “bay” and “water” Given the congregation of Chinese immigrants, it led to a concentration of temples and clan associations in the area.
One of the most prominent Chinese temples in the area is the famed Thian Hock Keng or the Tianfu Temple, literally "Palace of Heavenly Happiness"), built for the worship of Mazu, a Chinese sea goddess, located in Singapore.
It is the oldest and most important temple of the Hokkien (Hoklo) people in the country. This beautiful temple is nestled between a bevy of shophouses with some of the most popular restaurants and bars in Singapore. The area has developed a lot over the years and has become a hotspot for great dining and entertainment.
The last secret spot on my tour is a very interesting one that is more of an experience rather than a destination. In the quirky neighbourhood of Jalan Besar - known for its conservation shophouses, hipster cafes and eating houses - lies a unique multi-room, multi-environment dining experience known as Absurdities.
The experience is by reservation only and is in groups of two or four. In the first room aka as the waiting room, the rules of the experience were explained to us and we were informed that it would be a six course dinner with cocktail pairings for each dish. The waiting room was relatively nondescript and in no way prepared us for what was to come next.
We opened a door on the far right of the room which led us to a walkway filled with mirrors and LED lights that were designed to form a birdcage. It felt like we were walking through a maze of mirrors that would take us to a rave. The walkway led to the next room which was designed to look like a cave.
Our first course of the night was served and while it looked like the usual burger, fries and cola meal, it was in fact a vegetarian burger served with charcoal thick cut chips and the cola was a cocktail served in a coke bottle. After spending about 10 minutes in this room finishing up our meal and sneaking in some photo time, we moved on to the next room after finding the secret door that would take us there.
The next two rooms were rather interesting, the first being a Moroccan themed tent followed by an American diner style room which we had to get to by climbing up a ladder and crawling through a tiny door. We were served two more courses in these two rooms with some unique cocktail pairings to accompany the dishes. After our meal in the pink and green room, we had to crawl under the sink to get to the second last room which was modeled after a Hogwarts-esque apothecary.
The final room was the most delightful of all and probably one that we all missed the most due to the pandemic. The room modeled after an airplane was really cute and the little touches including the animated window screens which would change imagery for takeoff and landing were really appreciated.
The final course was served in this room and it was a lemon jelly dessert paired with Champagne. A great ending to a fun night of exploring nooks and crannies of the restaurant named Absurdities.
I’ve taken you on a journey through some of the secret and not-so secret hotspots in Singapore. There are a lot more cool and interesting places in Singapore that I’d love to share with you but I’ll save that for another day.
Keep an eye out for the next article in our KADA:KUDU - Around the World Series!!!
Photo Credits: Waqas Adenwala & Timothy Lau